Friday, March 9, 2012

A little traveling music please (reflective)

How time flies... our baby-girl is getting married tomorrow!
I love this photo of us from Austin College homecoming 23 years ago :-)

This wedding will be "suits and boots" instead of tuxedos and formality, as the bride wears my wedding veil with her new dress, the groom spiffs up his cowboy boots, and their puggle dog sports a dashing bow-tie collar. Family and friends will be there from far and wide to toast the happy couple over barbecue and the bride's famous cupcake tower (wait till they see the groom's cupcakes!!).

So we're praying for good weather, planning for bad weather, charging the camera batteries and hoping that the mascara really is waterproof as we journey by plane and car from work location to home to a lovely chapel in the Texas Hill Country for her special day.

It will be different from this scene - that's my husband and me renewing our vows five years ago in Beijing in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony on our 25th anniversary.

Back to new books next week - here's your invitation to browse through the 150+ recommendations on this site with the Labels on the right or perhaps search by keywords using the box at top left (with the magnifying glass symbol).

I'll enjoy a cupcake for ya!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mercy (fiction) - exiled from Heaven, dreams of demons, earthly evil

Jolting along on a school bus,
gradually becoming aware of her surroundings,
whose body is Mercy in this time?

Meet an exile from Heaven who doesn't know why she keeps coming back to earth,
or why she feels that she must help the person that she's unwillingly "soul-jacked",
or why her immortal beloved warns her in nightmare-dreams not to interfere in this world.

A kidnapping, long-standing grudges between choir directors from neighboring schools, dogs that bark at Carmen/Mercy and at no one else... the town of Paradise isn't living up to its name for the visiting choir students - will they manage to perform this challenging work without losing anyone along the way?

First in series by Australian author Rebecca Lim, Mercy is followed by Exile (book 2) and Muse (book 3). Be sure to read these in order before Fury (book 4) arrives in 2012!

Book info: Mercy / Rebecca Lim. (Mercy, book 1). Hyperion, 2010. [author interview] [book Facebook page] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation: Landing in an earthly body is so hard – having only fragments of memory makes it even worse for Mercy, every time she wakes up in a new body. Trying to make it through the day without alarming those who knew the person before this, struggling through her nightmares – why can’t this exile from heaven remember the reason she keeps coming back to earth, again and again and again?

This time, Mercy is inhabiting the body of teenaged Carmen, part of a high school choir traveling to their annual multi-school concert. Everyone will stay with host families in Paradise, attend classes, practice with together other area high school choirs and directors, then perform a grand concert. Uh-oh, Carmen is a soloist?! Mercy falters badly on Carmen’s first solo – Tiffany will delightedly step in if she blows it again.

Carmen’s host family includes handsome high school student Ryan and his grieving parents – his twin sister Lauren was kidnapped two years ago. After an awkward beginning, Carmen and Ryan get along okay as he shares his conviction that Lauren is still alive. Mercy’s nighttime demon warns her not to get involved, but hints that perhaps the police really didn’t get all the facts from Lauren’s local boyfriend…

Naturally, the choir teens are flirting through rehearsals instead of concentrating on the new music. So the directors divide and conquer, working with sections separately so they’ll be ready on time. One practice with Mr. Stenborg (“call me Paul”) and Mercy can finally call on Carmen’s amazing abilities (yes, Carmen’s still in this body, too) to sing like an angel. The other directors are envious; Tiffany is openly furious.

Even as two directors battle over how Carmen should sing certain parts, Ryan and Mercy uncover information about Lauren’s disappearance that leads them into terrible danger. Will Mercy’s actions while in Carmen’s body hurt the singer’s scholarship chances? Will she get to stay in this body long enough to find Lauren, to sing in the concert, to discover why she cannot stay in heaven?

Australian author Lim crafts a strong story of paranormal mystery, human evil, and undying love in this first book of a new series. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.